Local law enforcement seeks to help addicts get clean in jail

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Law enforcement agencies in the Richmond area are taking action to help addicts in prison get clean before they are released.

In Chesterfield, the Sheriff’s Office is partnering with “The Healing Place” to offer alternative sentences to some non-violent offenders in an effort to help them recover.

“Sitting in jail, all you do is try to come up with more ways on how to get by with the next time [you’re out].”

“Sitting in jail, all you do is try to come up with more ways on how to get by with the next time [you’re out],” Newcomb said. “Here, it’s actually working on the problem.”

8News spoke with Sam Newcomb, a participant in that program.

“What we’re trying to do is break that cycle of addiction, of incarceration, and hopefully prevent more crimes from being committed,” McLeod said.Lt. Stephen McLeod of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office described the goals of the program.

In Hanover County, a new program starts in January that targets non-violent offenders who violate probation. With the new program, instead of locking them up, the court will work on sobering them up, through treatment, court appearances twice a month, curfews and random drug and alcohol testing.

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Statistics:

  • Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
  • One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
  • The number of opioid prescriptions has nearly tripled over the last 25 years, and the United States now accounts for nearly 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone prescriptions and 81 percent for oxycodone.
  • The number of Americans abusing heroin nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012, with nearly 700,000 now abusing heroin.

In Virginia, abuse and overdose deaths continue to rise:

  • Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 44 percent between 2007 and 2015, from 399 deaths to 576.
  • Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 600 percent between 2010 and 2015, from 48 to 342.
  • Fentanyl deaths have risen 367 percent from 2007 to 2015, from 48 to 224.
  • More than 500 people went to a Virginia emergency room from a heroin overdose in the first four months of 2016, a 250% increase over 2015.

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